A website is a nonprofit’s most important communication channel. While you may rely heavily on social media to host and promote online services and worship alternatives, you should never neglect your website.
Here are a few questions to answer to determine if it’s time to update your website.
Is it difficult to locate contact information on your website?
According to one report, 64% of responders want contact information on the homepage. More significantly, 44% said that the absence of this would cause them to leave the site. Make sure your contact information is accurate and easy-to-find..
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Is your website mobile-friendly?
While slightly more people still use computers to access websites, almost half of all internet traffic comes from phones. It’s important that your website functions well on a mobile device. Type your URL into Google’s mobile-friendly test or check out this list of mobile-friendly problems and solutions to check your functionality.
How long does it take your website to load?
More than 75% of survey respondents (in the above-mentioned report) said that anything taking more than 10 seconds is too slow. If this is a problem for your website, investigate the causes and fixes. Some solutions may require technical help, but even small adjustments such as optimizing image sizes and decreasing page features may help.
Is your website’s layout outdated or boring?
It’s important to consider the visual appeal of your website. Explore tips and tools for enhancing your site, including what new themes are available from your host. For example, WordPress offers church themes.
How user-friendly is your website?
Create a scavenger hunt for specific elements found on your site. Ask family members and friends to rate how easy or difficult it is to find the elements. Examples might include: the name and picture of a specific staff member, the time and location of a particular event, a download of a specific sermon, etc. Make adjustments to assure that your site is easy to navigate.
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How current is your content?
Refresh your website content frequently to remain relevant and applicable to your visitors. For example, if you haven’t already, you may want to add the latest COVID-19 protocols or information about how newcomers might plan their visit. Search engines reward websites that are frequently updated. So, the more frequently you post, the easier it will be for people to find your site.
Do you want to increase giving, promote a mission trip or encourage small-group attendance? These types of calls to action are important. Provide a way for visitors to take immediate action. Include a “give now” button on your homepage that links directly to your online giving platform. Include a “sign up now” link to an online form or to get more information on the small groups your church offers.
Other things to consider
Improving your church’s web presence is a critical component of your ministry. Like most things in life, a website requires regular check-ups. After answering (and resolving) the questions above, you may also want to research whether it’s time to change hosting services, upgrade to a better plan, or subscribe to a content management system (CMS). With a little maintenance, your site will continue to be an effective ministry tool.
Tricia K. Brown is a writer, editor and public speaker. Through her ministry, The Girls Get Together, she seeks to encourage women to grow in their relationships with the Lord and each other. Her book, A Year of Yearning: A 12-Month Devotional to Help You Study God's Word More, is available from Amazon.